Beauty In All Things

A single mom loving Jesus and surviving suburbia

Day 31 – Reflections on 31 Days

31 Big ShoesI have loved writing my single mom life for 31 days. I should do this post tomorrow, but tomorrow is halloween and I will post one last fun pic. Here are a few observations….

Observation #1: I should have called it 31 days of my toes. It is still so warm in Southern California that each pick has my toes.

Observation #2: No situation is as depressing as it seems when you have to figure out how to type it up for a blog post and try to give it meaning. To others and yourself.

Observation #3: It is hard to be totally raw and I was surprised at how easy it was to gloss over many of the tough things. I will need to go back and elaborate on some of my posts to share more accurately the raw and real.

Observation #4: I was a little crazy with the feet pictures. Most specifically at Beth Moore and the Airport. 🙂 People must have thought I was crazy.

Observation #5: We are a really, really busy family who does a lot of cool things in October.

Overall, It was so healthy for me to look at my days and see all the ways that God’s hand covers our family. There were fun days and then there were rough days. I realized that my rough days are always filled with some joy. I can choose to look at only the hard parts, but that would be dishonest. It is a lie to label my day without looking at the positive too. Both are evident. Both are worthy of acknowledgement and process. And through it all my kids and I….

 …are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes for the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Still processing all of this,

alison sig

 

Day 30 – Halloween

IMG_1227Holidays are hard. Many families have two to share the load of the common place of the day and the excitement of day. Halloween for example means that I have to coordinate buying the pumpkins, overseeing the carving, cleaning up the carving roasting the seeds….you get the idea. One great thing after another that is hard to give up. Thanks to a sweet friend, I am happy to say that, Halloween is one holiday that I have finally dialed in. A few years ago she started inviting me to her Halloween party and it has changed our holiday. We gather in the afternoon and all carve our pumpkins together, in community. There are tons of parents to supervise and clean up and manage our brood. She orders pizza and the kids play. At 6 we head out and trick-o-treat all together. Again, tons of parents to manage and coral all our kids. I know they do it for fun, but it ministers to me so greatly. It meets a need for our family in a special and unique way.

Until next year,

alison sig

 

Day 27 – Horses

IMG_0972This picture is perfect. It’s not my feet, but the feet of Hershey the horse, my little cowgirl, and my baby who never wears shoes.

Enjoying today,

alison sig

Day 19 – 13.1

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13.1  I did it. I finished a half-marathon.

Dreams.  Broken dreams, shattered dreams, the death of dreams. These have been my close companions. Today, I have fulfilled a dream.  I almost can not type. There is so much emotion tied up in todays dream. So much. So much pain, so much joy. I’m not un-athletic. I am up for a fun hike or bike ride around town, but I am not a runner and I do not seek out physical activity. I am not one to push myself phyisically when the same end can be accomplished at a sweatless stroll. But years ago I got it in my head that if I was strong and healthy emotiionally I could run. 6 long years ago.  Honestly, when I said it it was as likely that I would climb mt everest. My kids were 9 months, 2 and 4 and I was suddenly an only parent. Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew I would never actually do it.  Each year the sign ups came for this race in SF that ends with a tiffany necklace. I thought for sure if I was going to run this would be it.

When I actually signed up this year I was a little shocked. The funny thing was how casual my sign up was. Sitting poolside with a friend, she mentioned that she was gonna sign up. I had 24 hours to commit. And I committted. 6 months out I wondered if I would actually make it as I went on an occasional walk or swim. Then the horrible news about “the sweep”. I mentioned it in my earlier post. The idea of getting picked up for running to slow motivated me to train. And train I did. Enlisting the help of a great friend and serious runner I worked hard. It became my part-time job as I scheduled runs and cross training into my already busy week.

At this same time my bible study started the Life Of Moses. Having studied Moses before I didn’t think much of it, but God’s word never comes back void and He is using this study in powerful and practical ways. Something I had not noticed about Moses is that he did not think he could do it AT FIRST. At first is the important part of that sentence. For those familiar with Moses his brother Aaron spoke to pharaoh for him, at the beginning. By the end of the plagues MOSES is leading the people out of Egypt, leading a nation through the wilderness. Moses did not think he could do it, but God showed him he could.

As I sat on the plane home it hit me, God needed to show ME I could do this. I COULD find support from a runner friend, I COULD fit this into my schedule, I COULD run 13.1 miles.

I thought I was just fulfilling my dream, but God in his tender grace was also showing me more and using his word to do it. He can and will use me for his glory no matter what my past. His word is living and active. Sharper than a two edged sword. Yes indeed.

Running,

alison sig

Day 18 – Trolley Cars and Big Shoes

IMG_0818Can’t believe it, but I am in San Francisco. I haven’t been here since before kids. But here I am on a girls weekend preparing to run a half marathon. Traveling changes when you leave pieces of your heart behind as you adventure away. While I had a blast in the 7 story Nike store all I could do was take pictures of everything to send to my 10 year old boy. I love having a 10 year old boy to think about while on vacation. I love my 3 sweet babies and seeing all the things they would enjoy here, like giant feet at the Nike store.

Day 14 – The Sweep

IMG_0150I am not a runner. Truly, I can barely go a mile run/walking. So the last few months have thrown me for a loop and I have really surprised myself.

When  I was first single I was intrigued by a race in San Francisco. At the finish line of the Nike Women’s half-marathon you are greeted by firemen in a tuxedos holding Tiffany & Co boxes with your winners necklace. What?!  Awesome!! I am not sure it still works the exact same way, but the idea captivated me and each year I consider running. This year is my year. I am signed up and I am committed. I started training figuring I could eventually make the end of the race. And then last month I learned a terrible phrase…

“You must BEAT THE SWEEP”

If you run you know what this means. Basically if you are too slow they come and pick you up in a van and drive you to the end!!!!

Noooooooo. I do not want to do all this training and then miss out on the prize. It was more than I could bear, so beefed up my training and today was my last long run before the race. There are so many spiritual parallels to all this training and preserving and ways God is working through this and I am sure I will share more. But for today, I am focusing on the sweep.

It is a funny thing to focus on failing. Failing in this case being picked up and unable to finish. I have geared my training based on the sweep time. It has given me motivation to get out there and run and cross train. But it has kept me looking backward too. I keep saying I think I will make it. A friend texted this week, “There is no think. You are going to make it”. Suddenly I was looking forward. I am going to run 13.1 miles. I have trained. I have prepared. So much of life can be like that. Moving forward for fear of what may happen if we stop and we forget to look forward with anticipation for what God has for the future.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

 

And guess what I learned today….if you get picked up by the sweep they take you right to the finish and you still get your award! In life when my mind is set right on God, when I am truly relying on the Lord, sometime he gives me strength to persevere and sometimes, he picks me up and carries me to the end.

Looking forward,

alison sig

Day 5 – Believe Walk

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“I don’t want to get up.  I am not going. I want to do the Beautiful Run instead.” I had to laugh. These words spilled out of the mouth of my sweet baby who DOES NOT LIKE NEW THINGS. Today is the Believe Walk. Supporting survivors and remembering those affected by breast cancer. My littlest has been so excited to do it. To honor those we know. He slept last night in his pink head band and his clothes are laid out. But this morning the familiarity of last years Beautiful Run seems acceptable and this years Believe Walk overwhelming. I brace myself for the morning and I forget to pray. Forget to ask the God of the universe to step in. Urgh, why do I forget.

Meeting up with friends at the starting line calms the morning and we are off. Soon this little guy is stopping at every water stop to chat, stopping to listen to the Mariachi Band, the Harpist, the Barber Shop Quartet. (Yep it was an eclectic day in our small town) He stops to listen because he takes everything in and he truly cares to hear and see what people are offering of themselves. His excitement is intoxicating and he encourages everyone he meets.

My oldest is focused on the prize. He takes off and is finished before I am half way. He has mapped his time, hit a PR and is enjoying visiting with friends at the finish.

These two are so different in the way they take in life. Experience life. My first instinct is frustration that we all can’t do it the same. And then joy as I realize how intricately we are each made. As a mamma my judgmental, frustrated edges get daily chipped away as I sit back and enjoy the moment I am in with my kids.

Today’s moment is special.  My mom is a survivor and my kids and I walk with a friend whose family is currently in the battle. My kids don’t really get it. They don’t really understand why we walk, but we walk just the same. One day they will remember fighting for others in this small way. They will remember walking with the friends whose mom has come through all of this. They will remember.  Today I walk in the moment cherishing this time with my friend and our kids, taking in all our differences and enjoying the day.

Living Life,

alison sig

Day 4 – Game Day

IMG_0197Saturday is GAME DAY. From the time my littlest was 5 we have spent every Saturday out on the field. Soccer, Baseball, Football, Cheer we love it all.  There is something special about sportsmanship and team mates. I love the strong male leadership my kids get on and off the field. I love the encouragement my kids get and the cheers that stick with them through a long week. More than anything it is something special to look forward too every weekend. There have been so many ups and downs in our lives the last few years but one thing has stayed the same. Every Saturday my three and I know where we will be. Saturday is GAME DAY.

Day 3 – It’s Fun To Stay At The…..

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Stealing a quick workout. Gym childcare is a single moms excercise life-saver. I dropped my olders at practice and headed straight to the gym. A quick stop to put my little guy in Kids Club and I was able to get in a good swim before racing back  to pick up the other two.

For a season I got little to no exercise. Finding time to workout is tough. The preferred times are, of course, early  morning or later evening. Both are no good with kids in tow. Enter gym childcare. Sadly, my young kids did not want to go and I had to resort to exercise videos before bed. Not surprisingly, exhaustion soon won out over Jillian Michaels.

In this season all 3 are in school and God has graciously provided a few moms who want to walk after morning drop off. (They walk faster than I can run!!) That coupled with a few mandatory trips to Kids Club I am able stay healthy.

I am struck by God’s ability to always find a way. Even for the little things.

How do you squeeze in a workout?